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Salmon Fried Rice

With perfectly cooked, flaky salmon and a slew of vegetables, this is the ultimate salmon fried rice. It’s one of my favorite weeknight dinners, especially since the recipe can be adapted to whatever veggies you have on hand (feel free to swap out the bell pepper and zucchini for carrots, broccoli, winter squash, peas, asparagus, etc.). Baking the salmon before adding it to the fried rice ensures it stays flaky and moist. Be sure to use chilled rice in this recipe. You can make the rice the day before or make it an hour ahead. Or you can use use 3 ¾ cups of leftover rice! Also, make sure to prep your veggies before starting, as the process goes quickly. Fish sauces vary widely in their intensity, so start with 1 tablespoon then add more to taste at the end.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to make fried rice, salmon fried rice, salmon fried rice recipe
Servings: 4 people

Equipment

  • 12-inch skillet or wok

Ingredients

Rice

  • 1 ½ cups brown or white rice (or 3 ¾ cups cooked rice)

Salmon

  • 1 pound skin-on salmon fillet
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice from ½ lime
  • 2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup

Fried rice

  • 4 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil (such as grapeseed or safflower), divided
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini or summer squash, finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch greens, such as mustard greens, kale or collard greens, stemmed and finely chopped
  • 5 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons fish sauce, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice from ½ lime, or more to taste
  • Chile sauce, such as Sambal Oelek or sriracha (or you can use your favorite hot sauce)

For serving

  • Chopped fresh mint and/or cilantro
  • Chopped peanuts or cashews

Instructions

Make the rice

  • Cook the rice according to the package directions. Spread the rice onto a large parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or overnight). (Or you can use leftover cooked rice.)

Bake the salmon

  • Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the salmon on the baking sheet, and season it lightly with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the lime juice, tamari and maple syrup. Bake the salmon until it’s medium rare—it should flake around the edges but still look quite pink in the middle (it will finish cooking later)—about 8-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillet. Remove the salmon from the oven and let cool slightly. Using two forks, coarsely flake the salmon (discard the skin).

Make the fried rice

  • In the meantime, heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a 12-inch skillet (or large wok) over medium-high heat. Add the red pepper and zucchini. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables start to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the greens. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the greens are wilted, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Scrape the vegetables to one side of the pan and add the scallions, ginger and garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir everything together, then transfer the vegetables to a plate or bowl.
  • In the same skillet heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the rice and toss to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is glazed in the oil and is starting to crisp up, about 2-5 minutes (brown rice will take longer than white).
  • Add the vegetables back into the skillet, along with the tamari, fish sauce and maple syrup. Stir well until everything is evenly coated. Remove the pan from the heat and fold in the salmon. Squeeze in the juice from ½ lime and season with salt or more fish sauce to taste. Stir in a few dashes of chile sauce (you can go as spicy or mild as you like).
  • Serve the fried rice in shallow bowls. Sprinkle with chopped mint and/or cilantro and peanuts or cashews. If you’d like, drizzle with chile sauce! DEVOUR.

Notes

Storage: Salmon fried rice is best eaten hot immediately, but leftovers are delicious for lunch the next day!
Tips:
  • You’ll need a 12-inch skillet or large wok for this recipe. 
  • I prefer to use wild salmon, which is more sustainable than farmed salmon (however, you can use what you have or like). You can also use frozen wild salmon—defrost it overnight in the refrigerator before cooking.
  • You can swap out the salmon for cooked diced chicken, pork, beef, shrimp or tofu. 
  • Be sure to use chilled rice in this recipe, as warm rice has too much surface moisture and will turn mushy. 
  • You can use any cold rice in this recipe, although I prefer brown basmati, which is high in fiber with a nutty flavor.
  • I love making a double batch of brown rice and freezing half for quick fried rice dinners down the line. Freeze the rice in an airtight container or zip-top bag and defrost in the fridge overnight or at room temperature. 
  • You won’t taste the maple syrup, but it will balance the flavors. You could use coconut or brown sugar instead. 
  • Fish sauces vary widely in their intensity (I prefer Red Boat Brand), so start with 1 tablespoon if you’re not sure (or go big if you like it punchy). 
  • Try this healthy Stir Fry Recipe!